"Don't miss A Boy Called Preacher--a story of resilience, friendship, and family love. You will even get a shiver. Can't wait for the sequel!"
--Anna Myers, Award-winning Children's Author
"This engaging story draws the reader into Preacher's world. A world at war, a father's abandonment, and many struggles; through it all, we cheer on this winsome boy, learning valuable lessons along the way."
--Donna Borgerding, Children's Librarian
"What I love about this book is it reminds me of my grandpa's farm. It really makes a movie in my head. I can just imagine what it feels like
to be him."
--D.C., 4th grade student
Five Star Review from Reader's Favorite:
A Boy Called Preacher by Cheryl Schuermann is an adventure/coming of age story of a young boy who learned that responsibility is much easier to bear when you are surrounded by love and support. Johnny Wilcox (a.k.a. Preacher) is trying his best to stay on top of things. He may be only 12 years old, but since his father left in February, he realized he has to be the man in his family. He has land to look after and equipment to fix. He has a lot of problems and they all seem to catch up to him at the same time. He needs to go to the mean mechanic Eldon Dunn to have his tractor fixed, he suspects that his friend Earl is not his friend anymore and, to make matters worse, Preacher doubts his abilities. He believes as long as he has his dog Deke by his side, he can do it all! But can he?
Preacher is a kind and determined protagonist. He is a special boy who has to go through some very trying circumstances yet he does not let them hold him back. The way he takes responsibility and owns it will be very encouraging for young kids. He faces his fears (even if they make his legs tremble); he finds his anchor (Deke) and tackles the hurdles with determination. The imagery is very interesting; it is simple enough for young minds to understand but it is vivid enough to challenge them as well. Author Cheryl Schuermann encourages readers not to let their past or present hurdles stop them from moving forward by setting examples with Preacher. I enjoyed how open-minded Preacher was, how he relied on himself and how incredibly mature he was.
A Boy Called Preacher by Cheryl Schuermann is an excellent story with a beautiful perspective; it is engaging and entertaining, especially for young readers who want a longer book to keep them company.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review:
A Boy Called Preacher will reach 8-12 year olds as well as older reluctant readers with the story of Johnny "Preacher" Wilcox, a boy who struggles to be the man in his family when his father leaves them. Running a farm is a lot to place on a twelve-year-old's shoulders in 1943 during war, but Preacher also faces the usual friendship conflicts and coming of age with too much confusion and too little adult guidance.
As the story progresses, young readers will find Preacher a believable character whose encounters with everything from a grumpy tractor repairman to his former friend capture life's ups and downs and, most especially, the challenges given to a precocious, determined boy who has little support in his life.
Belaying the serious subjects touched upon is a sense of whimsical childhood fun that influences Preacher's encounters with peers and adults alike. Preacher does not operate in isolation. His best friend, Earl Floyd, and his dog Deke, provide many fun moments and both enhance his life and fortify him to deal with its pleasures and pain. Preacher has lots of farm work to do, but Earl Floyd doesn't understand why he can't go fishing. They have a close bond of friendship sharing numerous adventures, including turning in jackrabbits for the War Effort, until their friendship is threatened.
Artistic, compelling line drawings accompany and enhance the story line as Preacher navigates his new responsibilities in a world where his mother is harried and his little brother needs his help. He has too many things he needs to do—the mystery of a trap set in the walnut grove and a stranger asking questions about his father, among other worries.
A Boy Called Preacher is steeped in World War II community atmosphere, fun characters, adult grudges, and children trying to fill the shoes of missing parents. Preacher is determined, realistic, and filled with quiet courage as he navigates these adult concerns to learn some hard lessons about trust, friendship, and changing interpersonal connections.
Young readers will enjoy this realistic first-person story of a young man struggling to do the right things for himself and his family, and will find the mysteries wound into these events offer many compelling insights into small town life and secrets.
Donna Borgerding, Children's Librarian:
This historical book takes us back to a simple time and place: a Kansas farm town during World War II. The gift of this book is that it presents us with the timeless issues of a father's abandonment and a boy who takes on the responsibilities of one much older.
In A Boy Called Preacher, by Cheryl Schuermann, we meet Johnny "Preacher" Wilcox. His father had given him the nickname Preacher when he was very young. As the story begins he wants to shed the nickname and asks others to call him Johnny. The painful absence of his father is evident, but Johnny's present concern is for his family's farm. He needs to plow the fields to prepare for planting. His old Tractor, Bessie, won't run. There is only one man in town who can help, but he's a mean old man who never liked Preacher's father.
We also get to know Johnny's family which includes his mother, and his brother, Billy and his loyal dog, Deke. They all work hard to keep the farm going. These are the days of the Victory Gardens popular in wartime and his mother knows they need to do their part, but this is just more work for poor Johnny.
His best friend is Earl Floyd, who in Johnny's opinion still gets to live a carefree life. Earl Floyd seems to cause Johnny endless frustrations, but their friendship weathers them all. There are various townspeople who help Johnny along the way and there is also a mysterious stranger asking about the Wilcox family.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I keenly felt Johnny's frustrations, and found myself rooting for him. Cheryl Schuermann has given us a look into the past and has done so in a genuine and refreshing way that will resonate with readers.
This engaging story draws the reader into Preacher's world. A world at war, a father's abandonment, and many struggles; through it all, we cheer on this winsome boy, learning valuable lessons along the way.